ONE proposed Government action that should clearly benefit PNG Air is the proposal to increase subsidies for the transport of perishable agricultural products in the country, says chairman Murray Woo.
He said this was a sensible economic policy, promoting growth in the agricultural sector, and potentially leading to export markets as well as some import substitution.
“It fits particularly well with PNG Air’s decision to convert one of its Dash 8 aircraft to a freighter configuration,” Woo said. “Increased vegetable carriage would provide a steady revenue stream from this aircraft, importantly on flights into Port Moresby.
“The aircraft is also able to carry relatively large one-off loads by charter, and to make other regular cargo runs.
“The board has not been content to rely on re-fleeting and an upturn in the PNG economy alone to improve the company’s performance.”
He said Nasfund, as one of the airline’s major shareholders, had commissioned a report on the company’s business and strategy from the major aviation consultants Aviado.
“The board looks forward to seeing what they may recommend,” he said.
“The company has also been the subject of a report from board and governance consultants appointed by the Bank of PNG to look at the board functioning and corporate governance of all companies in which superannuation companies such as Nasfund have substantial holdings, and some recommendations from those consultants to further improve the company’s governance are being implemented.
“While there are these positives, certain challenges remained in 2017 due in particular to the weak economic conditions and deteriorating exchange rates.
“The falling world commodity prices of the past four years have seen exploration activity remain low and as a result the charter business was flat.”